Check Out The First ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Reviews

Here's a slice of what critics are saying about the 'Ninja Turtles' reboot.

The pizza party looms.

At the end of the week, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” arrives to kick shell, take names, and chow down on all of the toppings. Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo get some help from Megan Fox and Will Arnett in their latest live-action incarnation, but should you join in on the fight as well?

Here’s a small slice of what critics are saying about the new “Ninja Turtles” movie, based on the first reviews that just arrived this week:

The (Somewhat Spoilery) Story
“We open on New York City besieged with the Foot Clan’s crime wave, and TV reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) attempting to break some actual news in the case so she can stop doing fluffball pieces about exercise trends. Despite the protests of her lovestruck comic-relief cameraman Vernon (Will Arnett), April goes running into a subway station that screaming people are fleeing, where she spots not only Foot-soldiers but also four shadowy figures fighting back.

“They turn out to be our titular heroes, and in this telling, it turns out they were once April’s pets, part of an experiment being conducted by her scientist father alongside industry mogul Eric Sachs (William Fichtner). During the mysterious fire that cost her father his life, young April set the four turtles and a rat free in the sewers, where they grew up into bi-pedal mutant creatures who studied the ways of the ninja. Sachs, who has pledged to support the NYPD in their battle against the Foot Clan, is thrilled to hear that the turtles are still alive, since their blood contains a mutagen that suddenly everyone, including Foot Clan leader Shredder, wants very, very badly.” — Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

The Turtles in Action
“The greatest thing this film brings to the table is a kinetic fighting style that makes the Turtles seem like they are actual physical threats to the bad guys. There are three big action scenes where the film kicks into a higher degree of fun that, taken together, add up to just enough of a thrill for me to recommend the film. …

“Technically, the film is solid across the board. The character work on the Turtles (design quibbles aside) is actually pretty well-done, and the same is true of Splinter. My kids had a great time with it, and since it feels to me like they are the exact target audience, I’ll call that a success.” — Drew McWeeny, HitFix

The Humor
“Along the way, an executive decision was clearly made to play it safe, which in this case also means playing it silly. In keeping with the series’ general lightness of spirit, this ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ runs counter to the gloomy, serious-minded tenor of so many recent superhero pictures, and it’s not afraid to mock itself or the filmmakers in charge. (‘Aliens? No, that’s stupid,’ Fox notes while recapping the plot for an incredulous listener.)” — Justin Chang, Variety

Final Projections
“Rebooting the popular franchise after Paramount acquired the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’ rights, producer Michael Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman have taken on a full recap of the turtle’s origin story and their epic conflict with the dastardly Foot Clan crime syndicate. As a late-summer entry arriving just before the school year begins, ‘Turtles’ could see some moderately enthusiastic if somewhat unpredictable response from the film’s target audience, since many of the series’ fans may have already moved on in the seven years since the last outing.” — Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” hits theaters on Friday (August 8).

Likes pizza, punch and pie. Dislikes the Chitauri.
@roundhoward